JOURNAL ARTICLE
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[Fournier's gangrene : what are the prognostic factors? Our experience with 40 patients].

BACKGROUND: Fournier's gangrene (FG) is a serious, extensive fulminant infection of the genitals and perineum. Indeed, despite antibiotics and aggressive debridement, the mortality rate of FG remains high.

AIM: Through our experience, we intent to identify effective factors in the survival of patients with FG and we try to determine how the Fournier's gangrene severity index score (FGSIS) is accurate.

METHODS: Between 1995 and 2010, 40 patients with Fournier's gangrene were treated in our institution. All of them were treated with broad spectrum triple antimicrobial therapy, broad debridement and exhaustive cleaning. Then they underwent skin grafts or delayed closure as needed. Data were collected on demographics, medical history, predisposing factors of FG, etiological infection agents, admission signs and symptoms, physical examination, admission laboratory studies and bacteriology. Timing and degree of surgical debridement as well as outcomes were also reviewed. The extent of disease was calculated from body surface area nomograms.

RESULTS: All the 40 patients included in this study were males; their mean age was 52,75 years (21-75 years). Twelve patients (30%) had FG secondary to anorectal pathological conditions. No etiologic factors of FG were found in 6 patients (15%). Diabetes mellitus as predisposing factor was found in 13 patients (32.5%). The mean hospital stay was 8.72 days (range, 3 to 30). All the patients underwent surgical debridement. Orchidectomy was done in 7 cases (17.5%). Skin grafts were applied to 6 patients (15%) and the remaining wounds, once cleaned, were approximated. The overall mortality rate was 17.5% (7 patients) due to severe metabolic acidosis in relation to diabetic decompensation and sepsis. We individualized two groups: those who died (n = 7) and those who survived (n = 33). We evaluated the admission laboratory parameters that are significantly correlated with outcome included hematocrit (p=0.003) and serum sodium (p=0.05). The extent of body surface area involved among patients who died was not found significantly different statistically between the two groups (4.07% and 3,14%, p=0,4). The mean FGSIS (without counting bicarbonate serum level) for survivors was 9.1 compared with 6,8 for nonsurvivors (p=0.16).

CONCLUSION: FG is a rapidly progressive, fulminant infection's condition. Hematocrit and serum sodium levels were found to be the only prognostic factors. It doesn't seem that the FGSIS has a prognostic value.

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